Articles | Volume 4, issue 8
Atmos. Meas. Tech., 4, 1617–1625, 2011

Special issue: Tropospheric profiling: integration of needs, technologies...

Atmos. Meas. Tech., 4, 1617–1625, 2011

Research article 23 Aug 2011

Research article | 23 Aug 2011

Ground-based remote sensing profiling and numerical weather prediction model to manage nuclear power plants meteorological surveillance in Switzerland

B. Calpini1, D. Ruffieux1, J.-M. Bettems1, C. Hug1, P. Huguenin1, H.-P. Isaak2, P. Kaufmann1, O. Maier1, and P. Steiner1 B. Calpini et al.
  • 1Federal Office of Meteorology and Climatology MeteoSwiss, Switzerland
  • 2Swiss Federal Nuclear Safety Inspectorat ENSI, Switzerland

Abstract. The meteorological surveillance of the four nuclear power plants in Switzerland is of first importance in a densely populated area such as the Swiss Plateau. The project "Centrales Nucléaires et Météorologie" CN-MET aimed at providing a new security tool based on one hand on the development of a high resolution numerical weather prediction (NWP) model. The latter is providing essential nowcasting information in case of a radioactive release from a nuclear power plant in Switzerland. On the other hand, the model input over the Swiss Plateau is generated by a dedicated network of surface and upper air observations including remote sensing instruments (wind profilers and temperature/humidity passive microwave radiometers). This network is built upon three main sites ideally located for measuring the inflow/outflow and central conditions of the main wind field in the planetary boundary layer over the Swiss Plateau, as well as a number of surface automatic weather stations (AWS). The network data are assimilated in real-time into the fine grid NWP model using a rapid update cycle of eight runs per day (one forecast every three hours). This high resolution NWP model has replaced the former security tool based on in situ observations (in particular one meteorological mast at each of the power plants) and a local dispersion model. It is used to forecast the dynamics of the atmosphere in the planetary boundary layer (typically the first 4 km above ground layer) and over a time scale of 24 h. This tool provides at any time (e.g. starting at the initial time of a nuclear power plant release) the best picture of the 24-h evolution of the air mass over the Swiss Plateau and furthermore generates the input data (in the form of simulated values substituting in situ observations) required for the local dispersion model used at each of the nuclear power plants locations. This paper is presenting the concept and two validation studies as well as the results of an emergency response exercise performed in winter 2009.